TRENTON – A Linden woman was convicted last week for her role in defrauding a charity program out of more than $7 million in donated HIV and cancer medication by using her access to a company hired to administer the program, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Lateefah McKenzie Body, 35, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and nine counts of mail fraud following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court. The jury deliberated for one day before finding McKenzie Body guilty on all counts.
On Nov. 13, 2012, Keisha Jackson, 47, of Perth Amboy, and Jameshia Bryant, 27, of South River, pleaded guilty to related charges and admitted their involvement in the fraud conspiracy. They are awaiting sentencing.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
A pharmaceutical company donated millions of dollars’ worth of FDA-approved prescription medicines – including for the treatment of HIV and cancer – at no cost to qualified patients experiencing financial difficulties. Jackson, Bryant, and McKenzie Body were all, at various times, employed as customer service representatives at a corporation hired to provide administrative support in operating the donated medicines program. They were responsible for receiving applications for the program, entering the applications into the computer system, and using the computer system to cause the donated medicines to be delivered to the physicians of patients who met certain eligibility criteria, including financial status.
As part of the scheme, McKenzie Body entered approximately 600 fraudulent orders into the company’s system, causing medicines to be delivered to Jackson’s home and other addresses controlled by those involved in the scheme. After McKenzie Body was terminated from the company for unrelated reasons, McKenzie Body enlisted Bryant to take over entering fraudulent orders. Bryant agreed, and entered approximately 950 fraudulent orders, again causing medicines, which could then be resold at a profit, to be delivered to Jackson’s home and other addresses controlled by those involved in the scheme.
Each of the 10 counts is punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing for McKenzie Body is scheduled for Dec. 12.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford, with the investigation leading to the guilty verdict.
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